City-Threatening Wildfires — The North’s New Climate Future

That great roaring sound you’re hearing may just be another 3.6 billion dollar climate disaster…

*****

Reports are in and it’s official — the Fort McMurray Fire was the costliest disaster ever to impact Canada. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), claims of damages for the massive Alberta wildfire have now topped 3.6 billion dollars. That’s worse than the Alberta floods of 2013 at 1.8 billion dollars (ranked third), and worse than the great Quebec ice storm of 1998 which inflicted 1.9 billion dollars (in 2014 dollars) in damages.

Pyrocumulous cloud

(Fires in northern regions and within the Arctic are now so energetic that they often produce pyrocumulus clouds — like this one which was thrown off by the Fort McMurray Fire.)

CEO Don Forgeron of IBC stated that the damage from the fires provide “alarming evidence” that extreme weather events have increased in frequency and severity in Canada. And that’s especially true for wildfires — which are being worsened by a climate change driven warming. The added heat is lengthening the fire season in Northern Latitudes even as it is generating temperatures that are inhospitable to trees that have adapted to live in much cooler climates. It’s also thawing the permafrost — which adds more peat-like fuels for fires to burn.

The Fort McMurray fire erupted under these new climate conditions and under temperatures that were 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) above average at the time of ignition. It forced the entire city of Fort McMurray to empty. It resulted in the evacuation of 90,000 people, the (darkly ironic) temporary shut down of various fossil fuel production facilities, and leveled 2,400 structures. Many more structures were damaged due to smoke or falling embers. In total, more than 27,000 property claims were filed.

Dozens of massive wildfires Siberia

(Dozens of massive wildfires burn through Central Siberia on July 7th of 2016 in this LANCE MODIS satellite shot. For reference, bottom edge of frame is 220 miles. These kinds of events, according to Greenpeace, burned 8.5 million acres last year in Russia. It’s a new climate context that is turning northern regions into a fire hot zone and it’s not at all normal.)

Unfortunately, this fire is unlikely to be a one-off event. Year after year, an Arctic warming at 2.5 to 3 times the rate of the rest of the globe pulls heat northward. Earlier thaws and added fuels combine explosively with swaths of dead trees killed by rampaging invasive species that have arrived from the south. No northern or Arctic nation has been untouched by the extreme fires. Alaska, Canada, and Siberian Russia have all seen extraordinary and massive fires during recent years. Fires that throw great pulses of heat and burning debris high into thunderheads of flame called pyrocumulus clouds. A word that climate change has now added to the popular lingo.

Links/Attribution/Statements:

LANCE MODIS

Last Damage Estimate For Fort McMurray Fire 3.6 Billion

The Climate Context For the Fort McMurray Fire

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

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59 Comments

  1. wili

     /  July 8, 2016

    3.6 b $ here, 3.6 b $ there…pretty soon you’re talkin’ about real money!

    Reply
  2. Jay M

     /  July 8, 2016

    If the weather was an enemy, what would be the response be to the various localized flooding events in Kentucky, Illinois and also W. Virginia a couple of weeks ago? Emergency for the people that get leveled by it.

    Reply
  3. Jay M

     /  July 8, 2016

    Blas and Four-E in Pacific off Mexico

    Reply
  4. Jeremy

     /  July 8, 2016

    Reply
  5. labmonkey2

     /  July 8, 2016

    And the “Forests of the Sea” are not doing well either:

    Help the kelp. Rising sea temperatures have already wiped out 100 kilometres of kelp forest along the south coast of Western Australia – and this unprecedented loss looks set to worsen.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2096458-biggest-ever-die-off-of-ocean-forests-triggered-by-warming-seas/

    Too many things happening at once.
    The entropy is huge.
    Will we survive?

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  July 8, 2016

      The ABC even mentioned it, even though it is now just another Murdoch/IPA mouthpiece – evidence, the new head a Murdoch flunky has shut down it’s Drum online section that had guest commentators and a very active free speech commentary and the BIG giveaway is she also shut down it’s Fact check unit, the first thing Murdoch did when he gained control of National Geographic was shut it’s fact check unit.
      Now Murdoch can use a widely respected Taxpayer funded media organisation as a vehicle to spread his vile deceit and propaganda.

      Still, small mercies
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-08/kelp-forests-of-the-sea-in-wa-slashed-by-marine-heatwave/7577934

      Reply
  6. Andy in SD

     /  July 8, 2016

    Canada’s population is 1/10 that of the US, so this would equate to a 36 billion dollar disaster per capita in the US.

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  July 8, 2016

      not 36 billion per capita, rather equating the impact financially between populations.

      Reply
    • It’s a big hit, Andy. Nearly twice as costly as the previous worst disaster in Canada’s history.

      Reply
  7. Russia, Canada and the USA are all big fossil fuel producers and consumers and despite the words of some politicians the nations as a whole are in complete climate denial and can not imagine a life without oil.

    Reply
  8. Note that cost does NOT include damage to the climate as a result of release of CO2.

    Nor does it include damage to climate scientist’s reputations as it becomes obvious that carbon feedbacks are larger than assumed, come sooner than assumed, and human carbon emissions that avoid 2C are smaller than previously calculated.

    What was the value of the “straw that broke the camel’s back”? Likewise, what is the value of that bit of CO2 emissions that makes the weather just go “NUTS”?

    Reply
  9. “We fool ourselves if we are not deeply alarmed by the recent news about the state of global warming. According to new data released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, measurements taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii show that carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations jumped by 3.05 parts per million (ppm) during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research. 2015 was the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 ppm.

    Scientists say they are shocked and stunned by the “unprecedented” NASA temperature figures for February 2016, which are 1.65°C higher than the beginning of the twentieth century and around 1.9°C warmer than the pre-industrial level.” Climate Red Alert

    We Are All Ready Baked in to a Record Breaking Temps., Wind, Rain and Snow That are HIGHER, Than EXPECTED ! We are going to go Off the Charts !

    GREENLAND !

    The Koch bros. Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates and Their Fossil Fuel Agenda,

    Killing us And Destroying Our Life Sustaining Fragile Eco-Systems !

    There is No Atmospheric Budget of Carbon, Methane, or Nuclear !

    by Lowana Veal, November 23, 2015
    Reykjavik, Iceland – Over the past year, a number of giant, mysterious holes have emerged in Siberia, some as deep as 200 metres.

    Scientists say the craters may be emerging because the frozen ground, or “permafrost,” that covers much of Siberia has been thawing due to climate change.

    Allowing methane gases trapped underground to build up and explode !

    Permafrost is ground that is permanently frozen, where the ground temperature has remained below 0 °C (32 °F) for at least two years. It covers about a quarter of the northern hemisphere’s land surface.

    “Permafrost soils contain vast amounts of carbon, nearly twice as much as is currently in the atmosphere.

    As the permafrost thaws in a warming climate, the soil decomposes and releases carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. These are greenhouse gases, and they warm the Earth even more.

    This leads to more permafrost thawing, more carbon release, and so the cycle continues,” Chadburn said.

    At the recent Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, Max Holmes from the US-based Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) said in a presentation that the Siberian sinkholes “are an additional indication that vast changes are under way in the Arctic.”

    We must Stop the Koch bros, Warren Buffets, Bill Gates, and their Fossil Fuel allies from FUKUSHIMIATIZING Us !

    Greenland is Melting and Calving Now, Jonas just went over Greenland at above Freezing Temps, for the first Time.

    “And for the Winter of 2016 it’s possible that the Arctic may never experience typical conditions.

    For, according to NOAA, the first half of February saw this record, Spring-like, warmth extend on through today.

    It’s as if these coldest zones in the Northern Hemisphere haven’t yet experienced Winter

    — as if the freak storm that drove Arctic temperatures to record levels during late December has, ever since, jammed the thermometer into typical April levels and left it stuck there. ” Robert Scribbler

    Greenland has 20 Feet of Sea Level Rise !

    Now is the Time for Feed in Tariff Clean Kilowatts, Home Owners and Commercial Business owners selling Renewable Energy, Wind and Solar to the Utility !

    Dump Net Metering (Second Utility) Third Party Leasing.

    Protect Our Communities with Solar Policies that keep the Money in the Wallets and Purses of Head of House Holds.

    In Order to Ready Themselves for coming, Record Breaking Rain, Wind and Snow.

    Food Shortages, High Temps, Floods, Fire, Quakes, and Sea Level Rising 220 feet !

    With Ca. Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff

    Help Protect Hard Working, Tax Paying, Voting, Citizens from our Koch Bros, Warren Buffet, Warren Gates, Fossil Fueled Energy and Water Policies !

    Each 1C. Temp Rise, Atmospheric Moisture increases 7%

    We have increased Temp 1.4C. and Climbing

    1850 ppm Carbon 270

    1980 ppm carbon 350

    2015 ppm of Carbon 405 and Rising

    What will the ppm of Carbon be when Greenland All Melts ?

    Diablo Nuclear, San Onofre Fuel Rods, and All Nuclear needs to be relocated to 3000 feet above Sea Level

    Over 3 Million Years of Waxing and Waning From the Poles, with the Arctic Keeping North America Cool, Now it is Greenland Because of Fossil Fuels !

    Massive Sea Life Die Off on Pacific and Atlantic Coast !

    Pacific and Atlantic Oceans 4 – 18 degrees warmer than Normal

    Antarctica has 200 feet of Sea Level Rise

    Arctic Region Warming Twice as fast as the rest of the planet !

    Over 400 Nuclear Reactors at Sea Level Now !

    Sign and Share for a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff. Go to the youtube site, look six inches below video, click on Show More, then click on blue link to sign the petition.

    Attachments area
    Preview YouTube video We Need To Ban Fracking.
    We Need To Ban Fracking.
    Attachments area
    Preview YouTube video We Need To Ban Fracking.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the hard work here, Daniel. It would be fantastic if we could add a FIT and a fracking ban in California. Cali will need all the water it can get in the future. Wrecking aquifers by allowing climate-worsening fracking looks like a bad idea even now. But we’ll really regret it once the climate change enhanced droughts start to bite deep.

      Reply
  10. Reply
  11. Greg

     /  July 8, 2016

    Amidst all the carnage life goes on. Developers of Babcok-Ranch, an Audubon supported new city in Florida, just announced, after years of planning, that the project is going forward and is worth taking a look at. This is a town of 50,000 designed to be entirely run on its own solar plant and is designed to eventually use an advanced public and private transportation system of shared, driverless vehicles. “Babcock Ranch is an eco-centric new town embedded in nature and powered by the sun, by innovation, and by the great outdoors.” A very American model for resilience designed developments going forward.
    The press release with further links:
    https://www.babcockranchflorida.com/Media/Default/Media-kit/Babcock-Ranch-Grand-Reveal-Press-Release-FINAL.pdf

    Reply
    • martinmackerel

       /  July 8, 2016

      “[T]he approximate elevation [of Babcock Ranch] is 33 feet (10 meters) above sea level.”

      LOL

      Reply
    • John McCormick

       /  July 8, 2016

      Residents will have to provide their own fresh water.

      Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  July 8, 2016

      Hopefully they make it so it can float.

      Reply
    • They’re doing the right thing. If places close to sea level are going to have much hope long term, then they’re going to need to be a part of the push to get to net zero carbon emissions and net negative carbon emissions ASAP.

      Reply
  12. Greg

     /  July 8, 2016

    A video from Nepartak hitting Taiwan today. The force of these hurricanes is humbling:

    Reply
  13. Greg

     /  July 8, 2016

    Himarwari captures, in breathtaking detail, Nepartak post Taiwan before it hits China:

    Reply
  14. Jeremy

     /  July 8, 2016
    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  July 8, 2016

    ‘The Blob’ overshadows El Niño
    Research identifies earlier ocean warming as dominant effect off West Coast
    Date:
    July 6, 2016
    Source:
    NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region
    Summary:
    New research based on ocean models and near real-time data from autonomous gliders indicates that the ‘The Blob’ and El Nino together strongly depressed productivity off the West Coast, with The Blob driving most of the impact.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160706114420.htm

    Reply
    • I seem to notice a focus on “fisheries productivity” rather than ecosystem health, ocean health, or planet health. We started studying El Nino because it was essential to commercial anchovy fishing profits, then we discovered El Nino’s wider impacts WHEN WE LOOKED.

      We should learn from El Nino and look for broader impacts of The Blob from the beginning.

      It would be very comforting to know that The Blob is not the beginning of a ocean current reorganization. On the other hand, it would be prudent to determine if The Blob is a sign of other coming attractions driven by AGW.

      Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  July 8, 2016

    Drought stalls tree growth and shuts down Amazon carbon sink, researchers find
    Date:
    July 6, 2016
    Source:
    University of Exeter
    Summary:
    A recent drought completely shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, by killing trees and slowing their growth, a ground-breaking study has found.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160706114625.htm

    Reply
  17. Global Warming responsible for hundreds of “heat wave” deaths:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/08/global-warming-to-blame-for-hundreds-of-heatwave-deaths-scientists-say

    Manmade climate change increased the risk of heat-related deaths by about 70% in Paris and 20% in London in 2003, research shows

    The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, looked at the three summer months from June to August.

    Lead researcher Dr Daniel Mitchell, from Oxford University, said: “It is often difficult to understand the implications of a planet that is 1C warmer than pre-industrial levels in the global average, but we are now at the stage where we can identify the cost to our health of manmade global warming.

    “This research reveals that in two cities alone hundreds of deaths can be attributed to much higher temperatures resulting from human-induced climate change.”

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  July 8, 2016

    Miami’s plan to deal with climate change: Make developers pay up

    It’s hard to ignore climate change in South Florida, what with the city streets that flood at high tide and the worsening storms that routinely claim waterfront homes. Speaking about climate change on a visit to the state last year, President Obama said, “Nowhere is it going to have a bigger impact than here in South Florida.”

    Miami-Dade County has a plan to deal with all this: spend $400 million to build a system of valves, pumps, and raised roadways to lessen the impact of flooding. It’s far-reaching, ambitious, and expensive — and some in the city want developers to pay for it.

    http://grist.org/article/miamis-plan-to-deal-with-climate-change-make-developers-pay-up/

    Reply
    • Developers are pretty short sighted. They push to build near rising seas and this adds cost to the city which has to maintain the infrastructure to support these ‘edge of shrinking terra firma’ projects. Making them pay for the added cost to support those developments makes sense.

      Miami is experiencing the start of problems due to sea level rise now. But the rate of rise is bound to keep increasing. So Miami is in a tough battle against a rising tide that, long term, looks next to impossible (especially if we keep burning fossil fuels).

      Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  July 8, 2016

    Aqua/MODIS
    2016/190
    07/08/2016
    06:30 UTC

    Smoke over north central Russia

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  July 8, 2016

      SNPP/VIIRS
      2016/189
      07/07/2016
      04:55 UTC

      Fires and smoke in central Russia

      Link

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  July 8, 2016

        Terra/MODIS
        2016/190
        07/08/2016
        04:35 UTC

        Fires and smoke in central Russia

        Link

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  July 8, 2016

        Aqua/MODIS
        2016/190
        07/08/2016
        06:30 UTC

        Fires and smoke along the Russian Arctic coast –

        Link

        Reply
  20. Greg

     /  July 8, 2016

    Climate change subfile: Your Western diet protein may be soon coming from a much more efficient source if we are to sustain ourselves and grow food indoors instead of through the vastly inefficient and environmentally harmful cattle and other animal protein industry. Crickets.The cricket protein industry is taking off, and venture capitalists are taking notice. One cricket startup, Exo, pulled in $4 million in funding earlier this year. Silicon Valley’s cash-slingers are particularly gaga for alternative foods like crickets, and for good reason: All told, sales of edible insects worldwide could top $500 million by 2023. A fun video is included but shows how efficient it is to grow crickets.
    http://www.wired.com/2016/07/ive-future-tastes-like-crickets/

    Reply
  21. In Australia, undersea forests are suffering from “fire” as well:
    Biggest ever die-off of ocean forests triggered by warming seas

    Reply
  22. Note that those appear to be insured losses, and don’t count uninsured ones or costs borne by the government. So far, with wildfires just getting underway, the U.S. is ahead on the year, with two Texas hail storms in March and April adding up to $5.6 billion(!) alone.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events

    Reply
    • Good point, Magma. Thanks for the link.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  July 8, 2016

      More here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/07/07/june-was-record-hot-for-the-u-s-and-billion-dollar-weather-disasters-surge-to-eight/

      “June was record-hot for the U.S., and billion-dollar weather disasters surge to eight”

      “Last month was the hottest June on record for the Lower 48. If this kind of headline is starting to feel like a record on repeat, you’re correct — it’s the second June in a row that’s become the warmest on record for the U.S., although that fact is dwarfed by the string of globally hot months we’ve experienced over the past year.

      The average June temperature in the contiguous U.S. was 71.8 degrees — 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average. It surpassed the previous record of 71.6 degrees in 1933. The first half of the year ended as the third-warmest for the Lower 48.

      The news is not surprising given the warmth measured across the globe since early 2015….

      …So far this year there have been eight weather and climate-related disasters in the U.S., where the losses exceeded $1 billion. Two of these billion-dollar disasters were flooding and six were severe thunderstorm outbreaks. The total weather-related loss so far in 2016 is $13.1 billion.

      “The first six months of 2016 were well above the 1980-2016 average of 2.8 events, and ranked as the second most behind only 2011 when 10 such events occurred during January-June,” NOAA wrote Thursday. “Since 1980 the U.S. has sustained 196 weather and climate disasters where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, the total cost exceeds $1.1 trillion.””

      Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  July 8, 2016

    National Taiwan University (NTU) buoy NTU2 (located about 170 km southeast of Taitung, Taiwan) recorded a surface pressure of approximately 897 mb as the eye passed over near 8 am EDT Thursday. If verified, this may rank as the lowest surface pressure ever measured by a buoy in world history. A team from National Taiwan University is working to verify that the calibration of the pressure on this buoy was correct.

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/typhoon-nepartak-drenches-taiwan-killing-2-now-headed-for-china

    Reply
  24. – E.Pacific
    After ‘Patricia’s sudden and lively appearance here last year, I’ve been keeping an eye out for action in the E. Pac.

    – Michael Lowry ‏@MichaelRLowry 1h1 hour ago

    If #Darby forms here, we’ll have gone from historically quiet to ahead of climo in just over a week in the east Pac

    Reply
  25. – USA – E N/E, et al.A sample of current drought headlines 0708:

    – Salem becomes latest town to impose water restrictions during drought
    Part of New Hampshire in severe drought

    – Mass. environmental chief monitoring drought conditions

    – Upstate drought widens again – A moderate drought is now in place for nearly all of western New York and the Finger Lakes

    – Part of Michigan just placed in moderate drought

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  July 8, 2016

    The Rapid and Startling Decline of World’s Vast Boreal Forests

    Unprecedented warming jeopardizes critical ecosystem, nearly a third of earth’s forest cover.
    [Editor’s note: This report was first published by Yale Environment 360 in October 2015, and is republished with kind permission.]

    http://www.thetyee.ca/News/2016/07/08/Decline-Worlds-Boreal-Forests/

    Reply
  27. – Interesting cause/effect Chesapeake Bay, USA estuary chemistry re methane:

    Chesapeake Bay Generates More Methane Than Once Thought

    Estuaries and coastal systems are thought to be a relatively small source of atmospheric methane, as little as 3 percent.

    However, a new study from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science found that the methane building up in the Chesapeake Bay alone, if released, would be equal to the current estimates for all the estuaries in the world combined.

    Every spring, an influx of nitrogen and phosphorus from lawns, farms and sewage treatment plants runs into the bay.

    These nutrients feed algae as the water warms up in the summer, causing blooms that suck the oxygen out of the water, causing large areas of low oxygen known as “dead zones,” which make it difficult for fish, crabs and other underwater life to live.

    Since dead zones in the coastal ocean and estuaries are expanding throughout the world, Lapham decided to look at the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, to understand what happens to methane release in a body of water that undergoes dead zones on a regular basis.

    “We wanted to capture the dynamic nature of oxygen and methane concentrations in one of the most well-known eutrophic estuaries,” Lapham said. “We found that places like the Chesapeake Bay could be a more significant input of methane to the atmosphere than we thought.”
    http://www.lancasterfarming.com/news/southern_edition/chesapeake-bay-generates-more-methane-than-once-thought/article_010fa73f-1f59-52a7-81cc-1636ff53aa04.html

    Reply
    • All that non-atmospheric methane is continually, if slowly, being converted to CO2. How much does that add to atmospheric CO2 levels? Have looked but haven’t found anything yet.
      Posted earlier on the atmospheric methane part, which I figure as about 0.23 ppm, but that could be wrong.

      Reply
    • Hi dt and mlparrish-

      I recently had a moment of hope when I noticed what appeared to be a correlation between algae blooms and low CO2 concentrations. It looked to me, comparing the NASA worldview images with the Chlorophyll A data product turned on and the earth.nullschool CO2 maps that algae blooms in many parts of the world might be absorbing CO2.

      There is a geoengineering strategy that wants to seed the oceans with trace minerals like iron, and then sequester carbon this way by creating algae blooms. Needless to say, this all seems speculative, risky, and full of potential unanticipated side effects.

      When algae blooms create hypoxic water conditions, though, and that interferes with methanotroph bacteria, the overall net effect of the algae bloom on global warming could end up making global warming worse. Any CO2 sequestered by the algae bloom could be more than compensated for by methane emissions, maybe.

      Many of the geoengineering strategies seem pretty simple minded, and want complex ecosystems and ocean basins and the atmosphere to behave in simple ways. Your post, dt, the study you referenced, might give us some insight on how well (or not) this algae bloom seeding geoengineering study might work, I think.

      mlparrish – My impression is that ppb of secondary CO2 from methane oxidation doesn’t make much contribution to atmospheric CO2 – yet. If there is a major methane release from the hydrates, though, this secondary CO2 could be important, and could delay any possible recovery from that possible massive release by thousands of years.

      But secondary CO2 and atmospheric chemistry effects of methane release will almost certainly make methane release into a stronger positive feedback than most scientists and models have predicted up to this point, if there is a massive methane release, I think:

      http://www.atmos.washington.edu/academics/classes/2011Q2/558/IsaksenGB2011.pdf

      “Here we apply a “state of the art” atmospheric chemistry transport model to show that large emissions of CH4 would likely have an unexpectedly large impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and on radiative forcing (RF). The indirect contribution to RF of additional methane emission is particularly important. It is shown that if global methane emissions were to increase by factors of 2.5 and 5.2 above current emissions, the indirect contributions to RF would be about 250% and 400%, respectively, of the RF that can be attributed to directly emitted methane alone. Assuming several hypothetical scenarios of CH4 release associated with permafrost thaw, shallow marine hydrate degassing, and submarine landslides, we find a strong positive feedback on RF through atmospheric chemistry. In particular, the impact of CH4 is enhanced through increase of its lifetime, and of atmospheric abundances of ozone, stratospheric water vapor, and CO2 as a result of atmospheric chemical processes. “

      Reply
      • Much obliged for the article, Leland. I thought you might have some insight and thanks for sending it on. A few comments:
        1. While it does look like CO2 release into the atmosphere from non-atmospheric CH4 sources is limited, this depends on the estimates of those sources, and dt’s article indicates still more uncertainty.
        2. The amount of indirect RF here is staggering. An increase of CH4 by 2.5 doesn’t seem much of a stretch of the imagination. I was surprised that Carolyn Ruppel was an author. I read her CH4 summary article and she was extremely sanguine about CH4 emissions. Even here the preponderant idea seems to be that permafrost thawing will be extremely slow, on the order of centuries to millennia and that the faster scenarios are not very likely.
        Though even that is not comforting.
        3. Not from the article but from the IPCC radiative forcing chart, CH4 is O.97 compared to CO2 at 1.68. This is much higher that I would have expected from concentrations alone. Again, not my field, but maybe they are taking into account these indirect effects.

        Reply
      • I’ve sometimes wondered about Carolyn Ruppel, myself. While certainly an accomplished scientist, she does seem heavily involved in the effort to harvest natural gas hydrates for energy. While David Archer has easily distinguished ties to ExxonMobil and the Rockefellers, and Milkov has direct ties to British Petroleum, I don’t know of any direct ties from Ruppel to any major energy corporation. She did do her postdoc work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and that organization has received many millions of dollars of Rockefeller money, but many academics have similar ties. So, I don’t know of any really questionable associations with energy corporations, and haven’t really looked.

        The worrisome thing about the Isaksen (and Ruppel) paper is that these atmospheric chemistry effects get worse with larger releases. Methane lifetime in the atmosphere from PETM sized releases is projected by various sources to increase from about 8 years now to as much as 40 years, for really large, sudden releases, greatly increasing radiative forcing.

        I once put together a spreadsheet projecting the Isaksen atmospheric chemistry effects to really large sudden methane releases and the results were almost unimaginably severe – numbers similar to the End Permian and beyond. A lot of the uncertainty depends on the assumptions, particularly the size of the total global methane hydrate and associated free gas inventory.

        I’m not really competent to do this sort of work. I wish that somebody with both the knowledge and the motivation would come up with real modeling and a realistic worst case scenario, taking into account variables like basin scale exhaustion of the oceans’ ability to oxidize methane and these sorts of atmospheric chemistry effects. Dickens has done some of this, as did the IMPACTS (Impacts of sudden climate change) group of national labs and universities, now defunded.

        The funding for IMPACTS came from the DOE, which also funds the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The NETL is heavily involved in the same cooperative Industry/Government partnership to produce natural gas from the hydrates that Ruppel seems to be heavily associated with. So, it’s no wonder, at least to me, that the funding for IMPACTS was cut – likely this was done at the behest of the oil and gas industry.

        Reply
      • Wow, Leland. A lot of information there. It does seem to me the methane information is extremely fractured and contradictory, even given the usual scientific uncertainties. Something I am trying to watch.

        Reply
  28. Reply
  29. Vic

     /  July 9, 2016

    New evidence suggests a possible link between high temperatures and a person’s risk of developing skin cancer.

    The study compared two samples of human skin cells that were each exposed to UV light, but one was kept at 37 degrees Celsius, the other at 39. And even that small difference showed that cells kept at the warmer temperature were more likely to develop cancers such as squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-05/cancer-risk-linked-to-exposure-to-high-temperatures/7570156

    Reply

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